ARCHIVED -  Telecom Public Notice CRTC 97-40

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Telecom Public Notice

Ottawa, 1 December 1997
Telecom Public Notice CRTC 97-40
File No.: 8622-C12-03/97
1. The current tariffs of Bell Canada (Bell); BC TEL; MTS NetCom Inc. (MTS); Maritime Tel & Tel Limited (MT&T); NewTel Communications Inc. (NewTel); Northwestel Inc. (Northwestel); TELUS Communications Inc. (TCI); The Island Telephone Company Limited (Island Tel); and The New Brunswick Telephone Company, Limited (NBTel) contain a number of provisions which govern the rights and obligations of both the companies and their customers. The Commission notes that many of the provisions in the tariffs, including in the Terms of Service/General Regulations (Terms of Service), originated prior to the advent of widespread competition in the telecommunications market. The Commission further notes that since the introduction of competition into the Canadian telecommunications market, the Commission has increasingly been called upon to resolve disputes and complaints relating to the provision of services and facilities by telephone companies to alternate providers of long distance services (APLDS). As well, the Commission expects such disputes could increase with the introduction of local competition. The Commission considers that the nature and frequency of such complaints has called into question the appropriateness of the continued application of the Terms of Service, where services and facilities are provided by telephone companies to competitors.
2. In this regard, the Commission notes that on 4 August 1995, Sprint Canada Inc. (Sprint) submitted an application pursuant to Part VII of the CRTC Telecommunications Rules of Procedure (the Rules) requesting, among other things, that the respondent telephone companies provide Sprint with rebates with respect to a number of interruptions in service provided by the respondent companies. In its application, Sprint submitted that the amount of the rebates sought was in no way indicative of the harm suffered by Sprint as a result of the service interruptions in question.
3. Also, on 9 August 1995, fONOROLA Inc. (fONOROLA) submitted an application pursuant to Part VII of the Rules requesting, among other things, that Bell be required to provide fONOROLA with a credit for revenues lost as a result of alleged errors made by Bell relating to the selection of a Primary Interexchange Carrier (PIC) by certain fONOROLA customers.
4. In addition, by letter dated 8 December 1995, Unitel Communications Inc. (now know as AT&T Canada Long Distance Services Company (AT&T Canada LDS)) filed an application pursuant to Part VII of the Rules requesting that the respondent telephone companies be required to submit reports to the Commission for all service disruptions on their networks that affect APLDS and exceed 15 minutes in length. AT&T Canada LDS also requested that the Commission declare that the limitation of liability contained in the respondent telephone companies' tariffs are of no force or effect with respect to liability for negligence causing harm to interconnecting carriers.
5. In light of the foregoing, the Commission seeks comment on the following:
(a) In the case of customers who are obtaining telephone company services or facilities for the purposes of providing competitive telecommunications services:
(1) whether it would be appropriate to amend the tariffs or service specific agreements of the telephone companies so as to establish distinct rights and obligations, and if so, what these distinct rights and obligations should be; and
(2) to what extent it would be appropriate to rely upon privately negotiated contractual terms and conditions with respect to the provision of such services or facilities.
(b) Based on the nature of the many competitive disputes that have been submitted to the Commission for resolution in the past few years and the potential for similar disputes in the future, the Commission specifically invites comments on, among other things, the appropriateness, in the above noted circumstances, of amending the existing tariffs with respect to limitation of liability, refunds for service problems, termination of service, payment time limits and customer deposits.
(c) The Commission also invites comments on the appropriateness of making reference in the tariffs to the dispute resolution mechanisms discussed in New Procedures Regarding Competitive Issues,Telecom Public Notice CRTC 95-51, dated 8 December 1995.
6. The Commission intends to dispose of AT&T Canada LDS's 8 December 1995 application, referred to above, in this proceeding. The Commission underscores that this proceeding does not constitute a general review of the Terms of service, and therefore does not seek comments beyond the scope identified above.
7. The following are made parties to this proceeding: Bell; BC TEL; MT&T; MTS; NewTel; Northwestel; TCI; TELUS Communications (Edmonton) Inc.; Island Tel; NBTel; Québec-Téléphone; Télébec ltée; and the independent telephone companies party to Regulatory Framework for the Independent Telephone Companies in Quebec and Ontario (Except Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, Québec-Téléphone and Télébec ltée), Telecom Decision CRTC 96-6, 7 August 1996.
8. Abitibi-Price Inc., Cochrane Public Utilities Commission, Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (the telecommunications operating division of which is now known as O.N. Tel), and Prince Rupert City Telephones are the subject of a related on-going proceeding and are thus not made party to this proceeding.
9. Other persons wishing to participate in this proceeding must notify the Commission of their intention to do so by writing to Mrs. Laura M. Talbot-Allan, Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N2, fax: (819) 953-0795, by 2 January 1998. The Commission will issue a complete list of parties and their mailing addresses.
10. Parties may submit their comments and proposals regarding the issues raised in this Public Notice by 2 February 1998, serving copies on all other parties.
11. Parties may submit their reply arguments, serving copies on parties filing comments pursuant to paragraph 5 above, by 4 May 1998.
12. Where a document is to be filed or served by a specific date, the document must be actually received, not merely sent, by the date indicated.
13. In addition to hard copy filings, parties are encouraged to file with the Commission electronic versions of their submissions in accordance with the Commission's Interim Telecom Guidelines for the Handling of Machine-Readable Files, dated 30 November 1995. The Commission's Internet email address for electronically filed documents is public.telecom@crtc. Electronically filed documents can be accessed at the Commission's Internet site at
This document is available in alternative format upon request.
Laura M. Talbot-Allan
Secretary General
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